My Dinner with Ari
It is the second day of damage control for the White House after the airliner
of accusations of at best incompetent intelligence gathering collided
with the tower of the president's bid for credibility. Though the president's
approval rating, as ascertained by Time magazine's poll of 50 Republican
oil company executives, remains high.
Newspoetry went to the White House to get the inside scoop.
NewsPoetry: So, guys, how about releasing some documents and facilitating
an investigation whose outcome might help prevent future terrorist attacks?
Ari Fleischer: A broader probe into administration actions before
September 11 could lead to a breach of national security, compromising
the war on terrorism.
NewsPoetry: The American people have every right to compromise Bush's
war on terrorism, since we're funding it and fighting it. Anyway, the
goal of the probe into the failure to prevent the terrorist attacks
is to compromise terrorism, not war. Although, admittedly, capturing
terrorists before they attack might compromise a war on terrorism, the
same way penicillin might compromise pneumonia.
Ari Fleischer: Such an inquiry could become a fishing expedition or
another endless waste of taxpayer money in an open-ended congressional
NewsPoetry: The war on terrorism could become a fishing expedition
and another endless waste of taxpayer money in an open-ended military
Donald Rumsfeld: It is not physically possible to defend in every
place, at every moment... against every conceivable technique.
NewsPoetry: No, not even a multi-trillion dollar missile defense system
could do that. But so what? All that was actually necessary was to defend
the Pentagon and southern Manhattan against a small number of men armed
with plastic knives passing through security checkpoints in broad daylight.
Administration Official: Critics are crossing a moral line in suggesting
that Bush could have prevented the attacks but did not.
NewsPoetry: Bush is crossing a moral line in bombing Afghanistan,
a country whose population was already on the verge of starvation before
foreign aid was suspended so that yellow food parcels then yellow cluster
bombs might be dropped.
Dick Cheney: Criticism is thoroughly irresponsible and totally unworthy
of national leaders in a time of war.
NewsPoetry: Disallowing criticism is irresponsible and unworthy of
national leaders in a time of war. War is irresponsible and unworthy
of national leaders in a time of criticism. I guess what I'm saying,
Dick, is that I disagree. Dick.
Ari Fleischer: Anytime anybody suggests or implies to the American
people that this president had specific information that could have
prevented the attacks on our country on Sept. 11th, that crosses the
NewsPoetry: If this president had specific information that could
have prevented the attacks on our country on Sept. 11th, that crosses
Ari Fleischer: Republican New York mayor Michael Bloomberg called
the White House, got Bush's side of the story, and then publicly praised
the president. Bloomberg led, Bush's critics, such as Hilary Rodham
NewsPoetry: Bloomberg followed.
President Bush: Washington is the kind of place where second-guessing
has become second-nature.
NewsPoetry: Er, forgive me Mr. Bush, are you saying we should only
Laura Bush: It is very sad that people would play upon the emotions
of the victims' families, or the emotions of all Americans.
NewsPoetry: Exactly. Thank you.
Condoleeza Rice: I don't think anybody could have predicted the terrorists
would use an airplane as a missile.
NewsPoetry: Whether or not you think, the Minneapolis FBI Office predicted
that terrorists could use an airplane as a missile. Or see "The Sociology
and Psychology of Terrorism" at
I'm getting nowhere with you people.
Can I smoke in here?